Salma Yaqoob on the English Defence League:
“Yesterday’s EDL protest in Dudley exposed their true face. Tired of political speeches, many of the racists turned to fighting each other, then the police, before breaking through police lines and heading towards the Unite Against Fascism event. Fortunately the police were able to contain the rampaging thugs before they were able to cause serious damage or injury.
“The EDL mobilised at least 1,000 people in support of a hate-filled agenda of attacks on Islam and Muslims. They carried Islamaphobic placards and chanted ‘If they build a f**g mosque, burn it down’. This is a direct call for racist violence.
“I am quite sure that if gangs of Muslims were maurading through our town centres threatening to burn down churches that special laws would be passed, task forces established, and people prosecuted.
“Let us not have double standards. The EDL are seeking to incite violence against the Muslim community and undermine community relations. They should feel the full force of the law for so doing.”